10 Ways to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s
The HealthCentral Editorial Team | June 14, 2013
As dementia and Alzheimer’s disease become more and more common, researchers continue to look for ways to treat the condition and maybe one day prevent it from occurring. But according to some research, there may be steps you can take now to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Keep your heart healthy
The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia increases significantly in people with damaged hearts or blood vessels. This damage is often caused by common chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Control your blood pressure
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology found that people who controlled their high blood pressure with medication had significantly less accumulated beta-amyloid plaque on their brains–a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s–than people who did not control their blood pressure.
Watch your head
Excessive stress can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It can also speed the advancement of Alzheimer’s if you do have it. Why? A recent Swedish study found that chronic stress elevates a specific steroid that can inhibit the proper functioning of the brain.
The power of wine
Several studies indicate that resveratrol, found in foods such as red wine and dark chocolate, can protect against Alzheimer’s disease. However, you’d have to consume a lot of wine to reap its benefits. Scientists are working on a revesterol supplement so people can reap its benefits without destroying their liver.
Use it or lose it
If you want strong muscles, you need to train them. If you want a sharp brain, you must challenge it. Read books, work on crossword puzzles or take continuing education classes. Anything to keep your mind engaged and challenged will help keep your brain healthy.
Just as life-long learning keeps the brain sharp, regular social interaction can also stimulate it in a way that delays or even prevents the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Try combining brain challenges with social interaction. Take classes with friends, join a book club or start a weekly game night party.